Parenthood--It's a gas.
It's about 4 am, and I can't for the life of me remember how to transfer pictures to this page, so Mark will just have to do that later. With all the narcotics I'm on for pain control, my GI system has gone on strike, except for the worst gas pains in the world, which are now keeping me up. How's that for too much information? :)

All in all, though, things are going well. Caroline is still on the bilibed, which sucks because we can only take her out of it to feed, burp, or change her diaper. I think not being able to spend a lot of time cuddling her is driving Mark nuts, so hopefully we won't have too much longer of this. Even worse, because we can't play with Caroline during the day, she is really getting her days and nights mixed up, sleeping most of the day and being much more awake and active at night. Mark set up the bilibed in the Pack N Play downstairs by the TV so at least whoever is up with her can watch that, and the background noise does tend to make Caroline a little quieter. For the past few nights, I've been going to bed upstairs in our bedroom, and Mark and his mom have been taking shifts staying downstairs with Caroline, snoozing on the couch down there when possible, and bringing her up to the bedroom when needed so I can feed her. We're trying to stick to an every 3 hours feeding schedule as opposed to just letting her go whenever she demands, just because the more she eats, the more she poops, and the more she poops, the faster she gets rid of the bilirubin.

We have an appointment with my partner Ron at noon today, and getting her bilirubin blood test prior to that, so hopefully we'll be down enough to stop the bed tomorrow, but I'm trying hard not to get my hopes up in case it is another couple of days. If there's anything this experience has taught me, it's WORLDS of empathy for new parents who, instead of being able to cuddle and get to know their newborn right away, have to keep them in this bed all the time. I'll have Mark post some pictures of our set up downstairs.

As far as my recovery goes, each day gets a little better in terms of pain control, although having a big ol' gas bubble in me belly really pushes against my surgical site and that pain can really be intolerable. But at least it goes away within a few hours. I noticed yesterday that my hands aren't nearly as swollen as they were a few days ago, and although I still have big swollen sausage feet, I think my legs are starting to get back to normal as well. Things are moving slow, but at least they are moving. I spend most of my days with my feet up trying to keep swelling down, and waiting for the next feeding time so I get a little time to hold my sweet little baby. Mark took her to get her blood test today and put her little Bears socks on her feet, since the Bears were playing the Broncos. Since the Bears somehow (seriously, somehow) pulled off a win today, we'll have to wear those Bears socks again to our doctor visit today. (Caroline only wears a diaper when zipped up in the bilibed, as the light makes a chemical conversion in the skin to break down the bilirubin until her liver starts producing an enzyme--usually at 3-5 days of life--that does that chemical conversion for her). So going to get blood tests has also been a big deal, as we get to actually pick out an outfit for her to wear, which is still a novelty.

Oh, and on top of everything, our dryer is on the fritz again. As you recall, a couple weeks ago, our dryer decided to stop heating up, and Mark was able to locate the problem and order the necessary part. Dryer was working great for a week or two, but now only heats when on the highest setting. Therefore, Mark also spent a good part of yesterday researching washers and dryers online. At least it's the holiday season, so hopefully we'll be able find something on sale.

Ann has been great helping out around the house, making meals and doing cleaning. She also made the Walmart run of a lifetime, battling the after Thanksgiving crowds to pick up baby essentials for us that somehow got overlooked. She also took a bunch of pictures for us yesterday as Mark and I gave Caroline her first bath. Just a sponge bath in the sink as her cord stump hasn't fallen off yet, but it was fun to be able to interact with her a little-she wasn't a huge fan of the bath in general, and after it, ate like a mad woman and crashed asleep as soon as we put her back in the bilibed. Still was a bunch of fun. My mom was in Minneapolis this past weekend and kept calling from Babies R Us and the outlet stores asking what else we needed and buying up a storm. Since we really didn't have much pink stuff, I think my mom went a little crazy with that, but what can you do? It's her second grandchild, but first granddaughter, and it's just so fun to see my mom so excited about everything. I can't wait until she gets out here at Christmas.

I think that's about it---all in all, things are going well and I'm still struck by how surreal it is to think I'm a parent now. Granted, I am in my early thirties and this was bound to happen eventually, but it still just seems strange. I love it though! Hopefully we can put up a picture or two from her first doctor's appointment today as well! Thanks again to everyone for dropping us a line by email, phone, or even just blog comments--it's fun to hear from all of you!

But SO very happy to be home.

What do I say? The actual story of the whole labor and hospitalization is pretty crazy and would take too long. To sum up--went into labor 1 am Monday morning, 36 hours of labor, 2 1/2 hours of pushing, Caroline's heart rate starting to drop with contractions, which is no bueno, so off to c-section. Followed up with a uterine infection, fever maxed out at 103.6, pain out of control for a little while, but all was well by Thursday night (thank you IV antibiotics and pain meds!), feeling great this morning, able to go home this afternoon with the promise of taking my temp every 4 hours (thankfully NOT rectally) and coming back in if I spike again (which, by the way, is not going to happen). It just feels so fantastic to be home.

Being a mom is so wild. I'm really trying hard to be just a mom and not a pediatrician, which so far is going well--I never listened to her heart or lungs in the hospital, have refrained from doing a newborn physical exam on her, and have done as I'm told with the bilirubin issues--which, by the way, are not all that serious at all--would be VERY serious if we didn't have her on the lights, but her levels are stabilizing and we're rechecking the bili tomorrow morning back at the lab, and there's a good chance we'll be off the lights by tomorrow, definitely by Sunday, so no worries.

I'm moving around, albeit is super slowly because my surgical site is still quite tender and my abdominal muscles are useless right now. It drives me a little crazy to have to move so slowly and need help out of chairs and things, but as long as I make a little improvement every day, I can't complain. Since Caroline was kind enough to come 2 weeks early, mommy gets an extra 2 weeks of maternity leave, bumping me up to 8 weeks off, and not going back to work until mid-January--yea!! Lots of time with my beautiful baby daughter!

Anyway, I was pumped full of IV fluids (something like 5-6 liters during the stay) mostly while the epidural was in because my blood pressure was dropping a little, and the med they started to get contractions going more made me retain a ton of fluid, which I'm still trying to get rid of, and therefore, I really need to go get my feet up. It's about time for Caroline to eat again anyway, but as Mark and Ann clean up our fabulous belated Thanksgiving dinner, we figured I should say hi and let everyone know I'm doing just fine. And have the prettiest baby girl in Steamboat! Thanks to everyone for their well wishes, and we'll be bringing her back to Chicago for those summer weddings, so many of you will get to meet her before you know it! Go Team Fitz!

 New blog name (good call, whomever)

Thanks to whomever for suggesting that we needed a new blog name.

Of course, Caroline has had her own blog for a while now.

Also: new pics! We're home! Yay!

 Thanks(giving) for Caroline!

More pictures here of our beautiful baby. Thanks Pablo for the link yesterday.

Things have been pretty crazy lately (full stories after we get home with Caroline) but everyone is doing great. I'm home to shower and upload the latest pictures (and a movie!) Hopefully we'll be home tomorrow. D had a slight infection so they want to monitor her until they're sure it's gone (she's been getting IV antibiotics and lots of other good meds, and hasn't shown any signs of infection for over a day, so we're looking good - fingers crossed).

Caroline is totally awesome. Thanks everyone for the well wishes and all that jazz.

 Whoa momma!

Baby Caroline Monet Fitzgerald, born 5:52pm Tuesday, Nov 20th. 5lbs, 12oz (a little peanut!). Mom and baby are doing great.

After laboring for about 40 hours (yes, 40), D went in for a (non-emergency) C-section a little after 5pm Tuesday.

I am only home because I had to pick up extra stuff (staying at the hospital until Friday as D had a very slight fever this morning and they want to monitor it), and I'm on the way to pick up my mom from the airport. She wastes no time!

She's the sweetest little thing ever. Thank god she looks like her mom.

More pics here, and more (and more and more) certainly to come. Thanks to all for the well wishes. We have our cell if you want to try to reach us, but the ringer is off so we're not at all likely to answer.

 Long time no blog!
If you can't guess by the picture, I'm blogging this using our new computer (it took me a couple minutes to figure out how to configure the image upload utility I use, but I think I got it now).

Yes, in addition to figuring out how to work a newborn baby any day now, I am also going to have to figure out how to use a fancy new computer. We got the "small" one, and it's still ginormous. Holy cow, this thing is huge. And pretty.

It will take a while for me to get used to - among other things - using a new OS, but it's not so bad so far. And I've already video-chatted with my brother (in France) after about 10 minutes on the machine. Easy-peasy.

I am still getting used to the keyboard, though.

Anyway, D was bugging me earlier about not having blogged in a long time (I told her I'm working now, which should serve as explanation enough), so here I am.

D is more than ready to pop the kid, I think, but I could use another week. Just a week from Friday and I'll be good. Still, a very strange thing to comprehend. Thank God we've been spending time with Scott and Gina over the last six months, as I've been able to see him adjust from day one (not knowing what the F to do) to now (I think he changes diapers from time to time). And, they're leaving for Mexico on Saturday, which gives me hope for our planned trip around the same time in Short Round's life when we head to Cabo for a wedding.

But I need to get more sleep first. And install our stairs (the special glue I ordered hasn't even SHIPPED yet). Lord only knows when the bannister will actually get installed..

Anyway, I was up late cutting up veggies to throw in the crockpot first thing tomorrow morning to make about 12 cups of bolognese (1/4 of which will be used to make lasagna on Friday, the rest of which will probably be frozen). Also on the docket tomorrow is an OB appointment at noon (what began as the strangest thing in the world - me going to the OB's office - has now become routine), followed by a trip to visit the daycare provider. And tomorrow night we're having Wes and Sheila over (I think I'm going to grill and have some fancy sauce and twice-baked potatoes). D has tomorrow and Friday off (not me!) so I'm sure she'll jump on a trampoline or drink castor oil or something to induce labor while I'm away.

Anyway, I know this post was boring but my life is focused on work and cooking shit to throw in the freezer right now, so sad to say but you guys have fallen on the backburner for a little while.

(Oh, swell. Now it seems the image wasn't uploaded after all. Poppycock. Now I have to stay up and fix it) Fixed!

I just heard back from the home daycare provider we've been in touch with about securing a spot for Short Round. The good news is, she has a spot open for next week. The bad news is, if we want this spot, we need to start paying for it as of, well, next week.

There is a huge daycare shortage in Steamboat, and I know we're lucky to even have a spot, especially at less than half the cost of a nanny, but it's still just kinda annoying. There's this part of me that is SO RELIEVED to have a daycare option, but it really sucks to have to pay two months worth to keep the spot. And since it is a small, private daycare, the chances of another spot opening up before I need to go back to work (mid-January) is slim. But I'm also so excited to not have to look for a nanny, conduct interviews, and go through all of that. Mark and I are going to meet with this daycare provider Thursday or Friday, so we'll see how things go. We got her name from friends of friends who have been really happy with the care she's given their kid, so we should be fine.

In other news, I went to the eye doctor today for the first time in about 3 years, and finally made the switch from hard contacts (which I've been wearing for about 20 years) to soft ones. SO MUCH BETTER!! It's pretty ridiculous, actually, and makes me just kick myself for not having done this sooner. My hard lenses really give me a lot of problems in the dry air at this altitude, and the comfort factor can't be overstated. I have been told by more than one optometrist in the past that since I am so used to the sharper image of hard lenses, I'd have a hard time adjusting to/liking soft contacts, so I've always been wary about making the leap. But a surplus in my HSA account for the year in combo with today's optometrist saying, well, there are better soft lenses out these days, made me go for it. The only downside is that since I've been wearing hard lenses for so long, my eyeball has been a bit flattened out, and therefore as I adjust to soft contacts, my prescription is probably going to change over the next 1-2 months, so I have to go back to the eye doctor every 1-2 weeks for a while until everything pans out. Fine by me. SO MUCH BETTER!

OK, I'm exhausted---at 37 weeks, carrying around this kiddo is just wearing me out. I just can't seem to get my hospital bag packed, though, because I just can't stand the thought of it sitting there for possibly another 3 weeks when I'm ready for this kid to come right now. Therefore, I will procrastinate longer. At least the car seat is installed and the bassinet is ready, though, so we're all set for baby to come HOME at least!


 Crack for my mouth.
So I pretty much gave up sugary sodas when I was getting ready for my wedding in an effort to keep my weight under control. But since I've been pregnant (and the weight under control thing is not a top priority), especially in the last month or so, I've had the worst cravings for sugary sodas. Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, and good old fashioned Coke. It's been so awesome. Maybe since I can't really drink I feel like I need something that's sorta forbidden. And oh, it just tastes so good....

I'm drinking some Coke now. And I am just so happy....

Oh--and I'm officially term (37 weeks) although Mark said I can't have the baby yet because he wants to "enjoy" Thanksgiving. I think he just doomed us.

Back to my Coke. MMMMMMM.

 Best Teacher Ever
So I just found out that my paperwork went through and I am officially a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Pediatrics, on faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

I find this pretty frickin' cool, as I really like teaching and we get a lot of med students coming through the office. I was filling out all these evaluations on them, and they on me, although I was never officially faculty, which sorta made me feel like I was doing a lot of extra work without any credit for it. I feel better now.

I also feel like I should have access to a faculty lounge, because that would be cool. Although that also makes me feel kinda old.

Anyway, with my new-found position of authority in the shaping of young minds, I'll try to stay mature and professional. I'll let you know how that goes. So much for posting drunken pictures on the Internets. :)

Things are looking a bit more promising in the daycare department, and Mark and I will probably be able to meet with this home daycare lady, Kristen, next week. Which is good--the formal daycare, Grandkids, that we are "on the list" for, still has us near the bottom. I just found out that my partner, Sheila, put her 3 1/2 year old on the list before he was born. She just found out that he is actually STILL on the list. And this is the one that gives preference to hospital employees, although not docs, even though Sheila has been the Director of Pediatrics at the hospital for the past 3 years. Awesome.

I'm still feeling well at 36 weeks and 4 days, although my legs get REALLY swollen by the end of the day. It's officially gotten so bad that I'm wearing compression stockings throughout the day, which do help, but make me feel like an old lady. Or a lunch lady. Maybe I should wear a hair net, too.

I'm getting pretty excited for my maternity leave, especially when I see newborns coming in for visits and realize the kid in my belly isn't that much smaller. He's been super active again today--when I was checking out a newborn today and the baby starting crying, my kid started moving LIKE CRAZY. I think he could hear the crying and wanted to extend a little sympathy. Although I am still trying to get used to the idea of not working for 6 weeks. That just seems so foreign to me. I know I'll be busy with baby and sleep deprived, etc, but being away from my job is just strange. Being a pediatrician is too much a part of who I am to comprehend being away from it for a period of time. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but still strange nonetheless.

Speaking of, I was waiting to hear about a patient, just did, so now I can run over to the hospital, check on another kid, and go home for the day. Mark is making dinner tonight, which is also awesome. And baby loves etouffee.

 Halloweenie and More.
So since Mark already provided a link to our Halloween pictures, you can see for yourself my camouflaged belly. Pretty nice job, Mark! Halloween was way good times. In Steamboat, people don't really trick or treat with their kids--Main Street downtown shuts down to traffic, and everyone dressed up and brings their kids, and then the different businesses hand out candy and goodies. Mark and I didn't go last year because both of us had nasty colds, but this year we met up with a group of friends and just had a blast. It was so much fun to see everyone dressed up downtown--a lot of adults without kids or whose kids are older still were out walking around as well. Just a great social, small town atmosphere. I loved it. And naturally, we all met up at a bar afterwards, and I was having such a great time I didn't even mind being sober. How about that.

Congrats to Julie and Andrea, who are proud new parents to a little baby girl, Sutton! She's beautiful!

What else? Our kiddo is due in 4 short weeks, and it's strange to think I'm 8 months pregnant. Mark and I have decided that I really don't look very big at all from the front or back, but in profile you can truly appreciate the 30+ pounds of lovin' that has accumulated. Baby is moving like crazy all of the time, and we actually have the nursery somewhat ready for him (November is back to a "he" month). I still don't have the crib sheets or bassinet sheets washed up as our dryer broke last week, but the replacement part should be here in a couple days, so soon enough. A baby is official term at 37 weeks, so really, just one more week to go to really not worry about anything. Although honestly, most kids born at 36 weeks go home within a couple of days anyway. I'm getting excited, but as work has been so busy lately (our community hospital set a new record for births in October) that I feel like I need to hold off on having this kid until my schedule actually goes to maternity leave (starts Dec. 1st). Not much we can do if I go early, but whatever. It's all good. And I'm looking forward to some spiked egg nog around Christmas as well as some good wine with the Fitzgerald clan. Yea!

What else? It's very strange for me to have a day off here and there now and not have Mark around the house. He's new job certainly has some sweet perks (as in, season ski passes) but I have a feeling my maternity leave will be a quiet one. At least until his family gets here! The new furniture is awesome, but Mark was smart enough to actually check to see if our sofa was a pull-out sleeper, like we thought, and wouldn't you know, no bed underneath the cushions. They'll be swapping out the sofas when they make another delivery in a couple weeks to bring us our side table that matches the dining room table.

Other than that, I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving, as that's my last big hurrah for work, with me only working half days after the holiday. That and I like turkey.

OK, need to get some sleep. Good sleep has definitely been hard to come by in the third trimester, but I have another prenatal massage set up for Wednesday. Those appointments are godsends!

 Halloween, work, and mrfixit (-Halloween)
I'm not going to talk about Halloween because D wants to post (with a picture of her belly, even!), so we'll skip the big H for now and let D get back to it later. (pictures here)

So: the new job is going well. I was given my first assignment on Wednesday and finished it up on Thursday, but I made things too complicated and had to scale it back a little (basically pulling a report with different variables - exciting stuff). Otherwise, I've been reading up on the new language I'm to learn (C#, BJ) and messing around with the central reservation system and database (If you've ever called Steamboat to make a reservation - ahem, mom - I can retrieve your info). It's nice to be back in an office (never thought I'd hear myself say that) and I think things will be interesting. Certainly there will be no lack of work, and I'll stay busy once I get ramped up.

D and I both got free season passes (mine doubles as my employee ID), and while I was filling out paperwork at HR I realized that I graduated high school with the HR girl (Maggie Litgen, for the Ramblers who are reading along). I have new employee orientation tomorrow (Monday) for at least half a day, and then it's back to work for me. The team also has high development standards, which is refreshing (it's nice to come into an environment that has standards already spelled out, as opposed to the bank where I tried to institute them and it never happened).

So of course it was this week, now that I'm out of the house, that the dryer and disposal break. As of now, I have identified the problem with the dryer and ordered a replacement (and become intimately familiar with its innards), and woke up early this morning (thanks, DST) and replaced the disposal (which was much easier than I would have expected).

Oh, and we had our first dinner party at the new table last night, and the family "secret" recipe flank steak was a huge hit (and delicious). The nice thing about dinners like last night's is that I only worry about the main dish, which consisted of marinating the steaks all day and throwing them on the grill 15 minutes before we were ready to eat. Other people brought the salad and potatoes. I provided the asparagus but someone else prepared it. Fun times.

That's all I got for now. D will check in later with the Halloween update.