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I [heart] Davids · admin

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We recently celebrated Granma Jo’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Granma Jo!

Date Night

Dave and I had a date night last Saturday. We booked the Chef’s Table at the Angus Barn. It was a really lovely evening.

We got all dressed up:

And then had a round of drinks in the Wild Turkey Lounge – Campari and Soda for me, you know!! Then they called us to our table. As we waited at the hostess station, we were surprised to be greeted by Chef Walter Royal! He presented us each with a glass of champagne and then escorted us down to the kitchen to our cozy table for two. How fun! You might recall that Chef Walter defeated Cat Cora in Stadium Kitchen, making him an Iron Chef! We sat down to our first course, a juicy lobster claw in a seaweed salad with sesame seeds – YUM! Our second course was a take on the Southern classic shrimp and grits. It was also fabulous. Here you can see Chef Walter in the background.

Third was a salad a field greens with fresh goat cheese and dried cranberries. Then we had a lemon sorbet to cleanse our palates, followed by our entrée of beef tenderloin, perfectly seared on the outside, served with a mushroom risotto and fresh steamed vegetables. Finally, for dessert we had an apple tart that was just super delish. Each course was accompanied by a wine tasting, provided by the sommelier himself with a little education and history. It was very nice to have a matching wine accompaniment with each dish.

From our seats, we could see much of one of the main dining room kitchens. We got to see the main steak and seafood line from where we sat. The wine cellar chef also came by and introduced himself, as he was our chef for the evening. Everyone who passed by us was very welcoming, greeted us and inquired if we needed anything. We also saw a number of patrons as they passed by us on their way to the wine cellar. And the owner, Van Eure, stopped by several times to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. After dinner was complete, the sommelier gave us a tour of the wine cellar dining areas and the cellar itself. It was really a lovely evening and I would totally recommend the experience.

Photos of both boys in the same outfit, so you can see how they compare.

In case you can’t figure it out, Henry is on the left, and Linus is on the right.

Birth Announcement

We didn’t order too many of these, so apologies if you didn’t receive one!

My Birth Story

This is the story of the birth of my second baby boy, Linus Nelson.

Linus was born at 3:30 PM on Monday, March 22nd. He weighed in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces and was 21.5 inches long.

He looked a little bit like his older brother Henry, but mostly he looked like Linus.

Monday morning I woke up and started working from home about 8 AM. Throughout the morning I had a few contractions that felt a little more intense than those I’d experienced during my two previous episodes of “false labor.” I had a little discharge that I thought smelled a little like my water breaking, though there was not enough fluid to think that my membranes had actually ruptured. I was also seeing a little bit of “bloody show”, a pink-tinged mucus, on the toilet tissue. And to top it all off, I had diarrhea that morning as well. I thought these were all good signs that labor was eminent but was so hesitant to say anything outloud for fear of jinxing us!
However, I did keep Dave informed about how I was feeling and what I was seeing. As I worked, we both gathered up all the hospital items that had gotten scattered around the house in the past two weeks so we’d be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

At one point, on a teleconference with a co-worker, I decided I couldn’t continue to have a thoughtful debate about the finer points of whatever we were discussing because the pain was a little too intense. I ended my call and called the doctor’s office. After being put on hold and transferred multiple times, I finally got someone who suggested that with my symptoms (contractions now 5 minutes apart and with a pain level of 4) I should come into the office straightaway. I was worried that we’d have to wait too long in the office, and asked instead to come right over to L&D. They promised they would expedite us and asked us again to come into the office, so that’s what we did.

We walked right in and they saw us immediately. Dr. Groff, the doctor who we saw in the hospital previously, was the doc who checked me. She asked me what my guess was for how dilated I was, and I said 5 cm. She checked me and said I was a good guesser. She let us know that she was going on shift at the hospital at 1 PM, so depending on how long labor lasted, she might be the one to deliver us!

We went straight over to the hospital and checked in. I was eager to get checked in and get the epidural process started – if you miss the window, it’s too late and then you’re screwed!

The nurses who took care of us were all very nice and very efficient. They knew it was a second baby and I was already at 5 cm, so they didn’t mess around and were quick getting my bloodwork done so they could order the epidural. They drew my blood for the labwork at 12:15 PM. I was starting to really experience the contractions, moving on up to 6 on the pain scale. Our nurse asked if I’d like something for the pain while we waited for the epidural order to come through. I had not ever thought about using more or different pain medication on top of the epidural, but as the waves of contractions hit me, I decided better living through science was a good idea. At 12:30, she gave me a dose of Stadol, which made me feel quite loopy. I could barely talk and had to ask Dave to stop swaying ever so gently on the bed because I thought I was going to get seasick. The stadol definitely helped take the edge off the pain, but the pain was still pretty intense and I felt so drunk, I would not recommend it as the drug of choice for delivery. As a bridge to the epidural, however, it was quite nice. The Stadol wore off right when the epidural started to take effect, which was great because it helped with the pain and once it wore off, I was able to be coherent and aware for the birth.

Anyway, around 1:25 PM, the anaesthesiologist arrived to perform the epidural procedure. It went very smoothly and other than having to stay very still during a contraction, was pretty straightforward and as painless as a procedure like that can be. Hooray!

By 1:35 PM I was at 8 cm and my water still had not broken. Doctor Groff came in at 1:55 PM when I was 9 CM and broke my water with a amniohook.
Shortly thereafter, at 2:30 PM, they disassembled the bed and I started pushing. It was oddly different from what I remember about Henry’s delivery. In that case, I remember being in a fog, a haze, and barely knowing what was going on. In this case, every minute of the delivery is clear and memorable to me. However, after about 30 minutes of pushing, it was starting to feel more like Henry’s delivery. Pushing felt totally and completely futile. I was quite shocked when she finally said she could see his head. I really wanted to ask about his hair but figured I could wait to see him. I started getting worried that he’d be turned the wrong way and we’d need another assist. I could also feel exhaustion starting to kick in. I’d had a well balanced breakfast of apple pie and coffee at around 7:30, and since then, the only thing I’d eaten was a banana on the way into the doctor’s office. Poor Dave was in the same situation and there had been no time for him to stop and get some lunch.

At this point, we found out that Dr. Groff was in the middle of four deliveries, and was juggling them all. Our nurse Margaret suggested that we might “labor down” and take a break while other babies were being born. That would mean we’d stop pushing and let the baby come down on his own for a bit. This sounded very tempting to me, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity for a break. But something, I’m not quite sure what, inside of me decided I wanted to win first place and got annoyed at being told I couldn’t do something. So the next time I had a contraction, I started pushing really hard and with more gusto. It was when Margaret said “Get mad at him” that I did my best, lol. The doctor came in at one point and checked on me, encouraged me to push harder and then I could really feel that the pushing was making a difference.

Then I heard it in Dave’s voice, who had been chipping in with the occasional “Push push push” but it changed to a much more heartfelt, “PUSH! Ohmigosh PUSH!”. He could see the baby’s head! I reached down and I could feel his head. And then Margaret paged the doctor and asked me to stop pushing. I breathed through a few contractions, avoiding the urge to push, and said things like “Dr. Groff is going to miss the baby” and “Margaret you’re going to have to catch the baby,” untl the doctor finally showed up. She just came from another delivery (we didn’t win!) and walked right in to catch our little baby when I pushed him out.

At 3:30 PM, he came out crying, little arms and legs quivering. I was so excited to see him. I couldn’t wait to hold him and touch him. He was perfect and cried like a little baby. They wrapped him up in a towel and placed him on my chest – he was so perfect. He nursed as soon as I put him to my breast, I was so shocked and impressed! Dave held him, wrapped up in a blanket. I was so excited to meet him — I’d been waiting months. Finally we had him in our waiting arms!

So, second time around. It definitely has its advantages. The big disadvantage, of course, is the presence of the first child, which makes everything more challenging.

But this time around, I understand better the value of sleep and make more an effort to get some sleep during the day. I really understand the value of putting the baby on a schedule. It’s better for me, for him, and for the rest of our family. I realize that every crying spell he has is not an indictment of my parenting skills and I’m able to take it less personally. I know that sometimes he’s just going to have to cry, and that it’s not going to ruin his chances of a happy childhood. It really takes the pressure off. On the other hand, I understand much better that the choices I make now should be those I want to make in 6 months, a year, or 18 months from now. So I’m more conscious of the decisions I’m making and the precedence I’m setting.

What’s Linus up to these days?
During the day, from 7 AM to about 5 PM, he eats every three hours. In between, he has a little playtime and a good long nap. From around 5 PM to 9 PM, he cluster feeds. This can make evenings a bit difficult to manage, but the payoff seems to be a long nighttime stretch of sleep, from around 9 or 10 PM until around 3 or 4 AM. Woot!
He’s about 10 pounds now, his body is filling out and his cheeks are getting plump! He is thriving and doing great.

How’s Henry?
I am making an extra effort to spend solo time with Henry, which has helped reduce the tantrum issues, though he still acts up when I’m nursing Linus. We just spent our second Saturday alone together and it went much better than the first, I’m happy to say. He is talking so much these days, putting together more and more complex statements. Only about 25% of what he says is difficult or impossible to ascertain. He repeats everything you say verbatim, so watch out! He is just the cutest thing you’ve ever met and every day he captures my heart in a new way.

What about Dave?
Dave is doing well, too. He’s trying to keep his nose to the grindstone with his studies, but at the same time, he’s supporting all three of us by making meals, keeping the house clean, and taking primary care of Henry. He’s awesome, in a word.

And how about you, Jeni?
I am good. I have had a much better physical recovery than I did with my last delivery. Being physically able to keep up with the demands of two kids is terrific. We are entering Week 5 and I feel like I’m finally starting to find my feet. I’ve got Linus on a schedule I can live with. I’m getting more sleep at night. And I’m able to spend one-on-one time with Henry now, which helps make the whole household run more smoothly. I’ve spent most of my time since coming home from the hospital researching Linus’s condition and understanding treatment options, so I’ve been busy. I’m hoping to wrap up that research soon as we make decisions about his care. After that, I’ve got another long list of to-dos!


I decided to try “Gangee” for Granma Q because Henry has three Granma’s and it’s what we called her when we were kids. (Does this sound familiar to you fans of Arrested Development?) It went over so-so. It was hard for Dave to remember so he called her Granma, which got confusing with Granma Jo. Anyway, we’ll keep trying.

Now let me brag about this gorgeous necklace that Granma got me. It’s made by a local Etsy artist, Polestar. Ain’t it gorgeous?

Photos of our Christmas trip to Virginia Beach. Dave, Mom, Henry and I came up to visit Granma for the Christmas holiday.

We hit the Virginia Aquarium again. We had planned to go to the Norfolk Zoo but it was 40 degrees and pouring down rain. Luckily, the major Restless Planet renovations at the aquarium have been completed so this visit we got to see some new animals like the Komodo dragon!

Cute freshwater turtle
Cute turtle

Contemplating the water
Watching the back bay

Kaleidoscope Hallway
kaleidoscope Hall

Sea Turtles
Turtle Tank

Watching Turtles and Fish

Visiting the Komodo Dragon
Komodo Dragon

Neat feature
Up close and personal

Tropical Tunnel
Walk-through Tropical Aquarium

At the gift shop
Fistful of Sharks

Doing his best to avoid Santa
Avoiding Santy Claws

Finn’s birthday party

Last Saturday was Finn’s 2nd birthday party. Just like his momma, I can’t believe he’s already 2.
The party was a lot of fun with pizza, cupcakes and a real live fire engine! There were about a dozen kids there and it was nice to catch up with some folks I haven’t seen in a while.
Happy Birthday, Finn!! (Sorry, no good photos of the birthday boy.)
Party Guests
Fire Truck!

Hello Handsome
Beep Beep - backing up!

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