Wednesday, July 30, 2008

2-Week Checkup

I cannot believe it!! Cole is already 2 weeks old. This post will be out of order as I still have some catching up to do on other pictures, but I figured since we went to the doctor today I would share his stats. Cole is now up to 9 pounds, 11 ounces. This puts him in the 75th percentile for weight. Ironically enough this is exactly what I weighed when I was born. It gives me new appreciation for my mom. :) Cole was 8 pounds, 10 ounces when he was born and left the hospital at 8 pounds, 3 ounces, so it was reassuring to hear that he had a good weight gain. I have yet to give him a bottle (I need to start pumping!), so it is hard to know how much he is getting. Apparently it is enough. :)

Cole's height is 22 1/8th, putting him in the 90th-95th percentile. He must have that Graske height! Cole's head is only in the 25th-50th percentile and I say "only" just because Mia has always topped out in this category in the 95th percentile. :)

Everything else looked good as well. The stump of his umbilical cord finally fell off and his circumcision was nicely healed. His skin is super-dry and flaky, but the pediatrician says that is normal for a 2-week old and it will just run its course. They went through the normal battery of questions and it seems like we are right on track with things. Cole is currently feeding about every 2 hours during the day (hope to spread that out soon!), and about every 3 hours at night. He is starting to get more alert and open his eyes more. Today he was able to track me as he lay on the bed and I moved back and forth. We have been working on our tummy time, although Cole likes to just conk out in the middle of it sometimes.

I finally got motivated enough and took a couple of pictures of Cole today. This was pretty short-lived as he promptly peed and pooped on the blanket. :) My photo friend Carla comes tomorrow to take pictures and I am very excited to have someone else take pictures of my child!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Story of Cole's Birth

***FYI, This is long, so if you want to cut to the chase and see some pictures, see the link towards the bottom of this post :)***

Okay, I am a little behind, so I will start my posts this week by sharing the story of Cole's birth. Obviously the week preceding Cole's arrival was a bit stressful with the whole blood issue. We had received word on Tuesday that Jen's blood was a match to mine, and that my c-section was scheduled for Thursday, July 17th. I went to bed Tuesday night feeling good about things. Apparently Cole did too and knew that it was safe to come.

Around 1ish I woke up and my stomach was feeling kind of icky and having some pain. I got up, got a drink, went to the bathroom and went back to bed. Around 2ish I started waking up again, on and off. Finally around 4, the pain was coming and going and I was thinking that it may be contractions. I got up, went downstairs and actually got on the labtop and googled "What do contractions feel like?" I know that sounds so silly, but I never had Braxton Hicks with Mia or Cole, and with Mia I had such an early epidural that I never felt a painful contraction with her. Plus I think I was in a little denial. :) After googling and having the contractions increase in intensity I decided to wake up Cort. I told him that I thought this was probably it and that he should start packing up the last-minute stuff while I jumped into the shower quick. After I got out, I called the doctor office and they told me to come on in. We then called my mom and told her to come as soon as she could (God bless her, it was only like 5 in the morning at this point) and then called Sarah and Ian's and asked Sarah to come be a warm body in the house to watch Mia until my mom could get there (God bless her too). As soon as Sarah got there we left since it felt like the contractions were getting stronger and more frequent. By this point it was 5:30 a.m.

We got to the hospital, got wheeled to labor and delivery and taken to a room. The nurse asked me how my pain was on a scale of 1-10. I said an 7 or an 8 and she seemed kind of suprised, so I backpeddled and said, "well maybe a 7???" I didn't want to be one of those people who they sent home thinking they were going to be having a baby. She went through some other preliminary questions to get us admitted in and then examined me. At that point she said, "You are staying here and having a baby today. You are 5 centimeters dilated." Things moved VERY quickly after that. Lots of people started coming in the room, bringing Cort is snazzy outfit for the operating room, and hooking me up to all sorts of things, signing all the necessary paperwork, and prepping me. I was very happy to hear that Dr. Weeks was the doctor on that morning since he was the other doctor that had been helping with all the blood stuff and knew what was going on. They gave me the nasty stuff to drink that is supposed to neutralize your stomach and I of course puked it right up. Thankfully though, this was the only time I threw up, which is great considering I puked through most of Mia's delivery and after too.

They then wheeled me into the OR while they made Cort wait in the holding area. At this point they gave me my spinal (not bad at all) and got me all situated with the curtain up, making sure the spinal had kicked in, etc. They let Cort in and things began. The actual c-section itself was okay, I did not love the feeling of all the pushing and pulling although there wasn't really any pain. Actually at one point they started pushing down on my chest/stomach area and that was a bit painful and uncomfortable, but they cranked some more meds and that took care of that. :) After a pretty short amount of time, they pulled Cole out. He was born at exactly 7:00 a.m. I heard him cry pretty quickly and that of course was great to hear. They brought him over and and showed him to us and asked Cort if he wanted to cut the cord (which he did). They cleaned him up, did his apgars (he got an 8 and a 9), weighed him and measured him (I could not believe he was 8 pounds 10 ounces!!!), and then let Cort hold him over by me. I was so happy to finally get to see him! I really thought he looked a lot like Mia did when she was born, but now that he is changing each day I don't see it as much.

After that, we hung out with Cole as they put me back together again. :) That part always seems so long and I was just anxious to get into recovery. I should also add that Dr. Martin must have been called somewhere along the way because he showed up toward the end of my c-section. I was very happy to see him. :) Once we got to recovery, I was pretty lightheaded and my blood pressure was lower than normal, so they had me continue to lay flat and I couldn't hold Cole yet. :( They did let him snuggle next to me though. They gave me some medication to help my blood pressure rise a bit and that did help. During that time the pediatrican also showed up for her rounds and was able to examine Cole right away. She thought everything looked great with him and we were all thrilled that it does not appear that he has a heart murmur or anything unusual sounding with his heart. Yay!!!

Cort and I also decided at that point that we would name our little guy Cole Anthony. We had both really liked the name Cole and never found anything we liked much better than that. We had also known for a long time (pretty much since the ultrasound where we found out it was a boy) that we wanted to use Anthony as a middle name to honor my dad. So Cole Anthony it was!
After about an hour in recovery (and several phone calls to parents, etc.) we were taken to our room and I had a chance to feed Cole for the first time. He did a great job and has been doing good with feeding ever since (maybe a little TOO good, I feel like I'm always feeding him!!!). After that they took Cole for his first bath, which Cort got to go with and do camera-duty. Cole then came back to hang out with us (yay!!) and we just ate up our time with him. He was just such a great little snuggler in the hospital and still is. My mom then brought Mia to visit her new brother around noon that day.

Mia was so excited to come meet her brother (and I think see us). She pretty quickly agreed to come up and get in the bed with me so she could see Cole. She was very interested in him and the hat that he was wearing. :) She did a great job calling him "Baby Cole." She also got a big sister gift from Cole (which was a Nemo sticker book) and after receiving that, she wasn't too interested in too much else. :)

The rest of our hospital stay was good. Since I had Cole at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, by Thursday at 7 a.m. I got to get my IV and catheter out, as well as the leg things you have to wear that help with circulation. It was so nice to be free of all wires and machines! I was up and able to move around so much better than last time and had so much less bleeding than the first time around. We had great nurses and really had a good stay while we were there. This experience was a world of difference from the first time around in terms of pain and recovery so I am thankful for that. We were originally supposed to stay 3 nights because of the c-section, but they let me go home after 2. It was so nice to be back at my own house in my own bed!

I do have to say it is very cool that Cole was born on the 16th because my birthday is on the 16th, as is Mia's and my mom's. I am Feb. 16th, my mom is June 16th, Cole is July 16th, and Mia August 16th. Pretty crazy!

And now to the pictures.....Hospital pictures are not what they used to be. They didn't even take "traditional" hospital photos. Instead, they have a photographer come to your room and take pictures there. If you want to check Cole's out go to and click on the left side "Website." Once you get to the website, along the bottom click on "Client." It will ask you to enter a password and ours is "Graske."

I like the pictures okay, I think I am just picky. :) I will say it is nice to have some of us as a family and some of me with Cole. A friend of mine who is portfolio building for photography is going to come this week and take some pictures of Cole, which is nice to take the pressure off of me. :) I have taken lots of snapshots of Cole, but haven't been too motivated to do anything more "posed" with him.

So there it is, I will be posting pics soon of Cole and his recent visitors. I have to get caught up!! Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

We're Still Here!

I know I have been a bad blogger lately, but things have just truly been very busy with Baby Cole's arrival. Busy, but good. We are adjusting to a new baby, new schedule, visitors, making visits, etc. That's a pretty good excuse, right? :) My goal is to update throughout this week and get caught up because of course I have a million pictures. :)

Until then, this one will have to hold you over. Isn't he sooooo cute???? I'm biased I know, but we're just loving our new little man!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Life is Good!

I have been meaning to update for the past couple of days, but by the time night rolls around, I am either too busy or too tired to do it. :) I will just update quick to say that all is well here and we are settling in as a family of 4. Cole is doing great and so is Mia in her new role as big sister. I will try to update more tonight with pictures and details, but here are a couple for now...
All cozy swaddled up

There is a lot of sleeping going on in our house these days! A rare eyeball sighting
Tummy time (the paci looks huge!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Here He Is!!

Here are a couple of pictures I was able to get off my camera at the hospital tonight. I will of course post more once we are home! Things continue to go well here. I am sore, but doing so much better than last time. Cole is doing good as well despite having his circumcision today. We can't wait for you all to meet him!

Cole Anthony Graske

In recovery right after his birth
First Bath
Nice and clean!
Mia meeting her little brother
Proud Grandma of 4!!!
Tired baby
Proud big sister
Our new family of 4
Another happy grandma
Meeting Papa
Meeting Jen
Meeting Ian, Sarah and Ava (Aidan was there too)
With Daddy
With Aunt Cathy
Meeting Kristy
Cole and Grandma again
My aunt and mom were great today and came and relieved Cort for awhile so he could go home and be with Mia and shower up

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cole Anthony Graske is Here!

And he was worth the wait! This will be short and sweet because we are TIRED, but this morning (Wed.) I woke up with contractions around 1-2 a.m. By 4ish they were getting significant enough that I woke up Cort. Sarah came over to man the house until my mom could get there and Cort and I headed to the hospital at 5:30. We got there, got checked in, checked out (I was 5 cm.) and immediately sent into surgery for my c-section. Baby Cole was born at exactly 7:00 a.m. Things moved FAST!!!

Cole Anthony Graske
8 pounds, 10 ounces
20 inches long

We are doing great and so far I seem to have minimal bleeding. Cole reminds me a lot of Mia as a baby and is doing well feeding and pooping. :) We hope to post more details and pics in the following days....

Mia-23 Months

I have been meaning to do this for awhile now, and figure if I don't, it may never get done once the new baby is here. Here are some of Mia's latest milestones...

She has started to put together several word phrases. Some examples include "Here you go," "Oh no, " "Napkin please," "Ready, Set, Go!," and my personal favorites "Go away," "Stop it," and "My turn now." Ahhhh, can you see that 2 is almost here?!?!?!

Mia is now counting. This is one way we trick her into going up or down the stairs by herself when she wants to be carried (a habit I have been trying to break since I will not be able to do this as much once the baby is here). She is pretty good at getting up to about 4 or 5, but needs more help to get to 10. It just depends on her mood that day. :) She is good about counting objects in her books too.

She also likes to sing. This includes her ABCs and Ring Around the Rosie. They don't always sound exactly right, but you can get the gist of them. She also loves when YOU sing to her. She puts in her personal animal requests for Old MacDonald. This often includes fish. What sound do they make???? Yeah, Cort and I are not totally sure either. :)

Mia has gotten to be quite funny when answering questions or responding to comments. Often times when we ask her something, she will place her finger on her lips and respond with "ummmmmmm......" Many times when I tell her something, she will respond with and enthusiastic "Yep!" I have come to realize these are things I must do without realizing that she is mimicking. It is rather amusing.

I am sad to say that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has taken a backseat. We are now all about Nemo. She loves to watch this DVD and enjoys anything Nemo she can find. Luckilly she can still get her fix at the Disney store, as they have many large plush Nemo fish there.
Mia is quite the nature lover. She loves to be outside, collecting leaves, flowers (dandelions), and bugs. My mom got her a bug house for Noah's birthday (so nice!) and she is very enthusiastic about carrying it around when it has bugs. She even has let me put lighting bugs in her hand and doesn't seem to have any fear of them. Of course, the infatuation with ducks, birds, etc. continues on. We visit the pet store often, as it is just about as good as going to the zoo and not so far for her big pregnant mom. :) Mia LOVES the fish at the pet store and goes nuts when she seems them (this ties into the whole Nemo thing).

Mia continues to LOVE books. As a reading specialist I am happy for this, but I will admit after reading the same book 3 times over, it does get a little old. Some of her favorites these days include Pinkalicious, Easter books (don't ask), and books about the new baby coming.

Mia LOVES Zip. She tortures him daily, hugging him, kissing him, petting him, bringing him his special bear, putting beads on him, yelling at him to get down off of the table. Luckily he really tolerates her, although I am sure he does not love all the attention. Poor cat doesn't know what he is in for!

Mia is getting better at playing independently. She is the type of child who likes to have a lot of our attention, but has become much better at playing in her room for example in the morning when I am getting ready or cleaning up. Sharing is a whole other story. This is not one of our stronger points. She will completely melt down if someone dares touch one of her toys, even if she is not playing with it. We are working hard on this, but I guess this is part of being a toddler.

Speaking of being a toddler, we have started to have some fits. These normally occur when it is time to stop doing something she likes (like brushing her teeth, bubbles outside, or getting dressed in the morning). It is normally a meltdown, but if we ignore it (or she has earned the occasional time out when she says things like "go away" when we are trying to change her), it generally stops pretty quickly.
Mia still loves her Leo. You can see his appearance in many of the pictures below. :)
Mia is finally getting the remainder of her teeth. She has 3 coming in at once. 2 on the bottom side and 1 of her top "i" teeth.

Mia is so much fun these days. She is our "spirited" wild child. :) She has so much energy and personality it is fun (and exhausting) to watch her grow.
And finally some pictures....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Houston, We Have a (Potential) Match!!!

Yay! Things are looking up today in the blood department. My mom and sister went this morning to the blood bank and were both successfully able to donate, which is wonderful. We were a little unsure if Jen would be due to the possibility of her being anemic since she gave birth so recently. But they were ready for my mom and Jen and both their donations went off without a hitch. I am very thankful to have such wonderful family who went out of their way to get this done for us.

While they were there the director told my mom they had located a bag of blood in St. Paul and they were sending it in. Shortly there after I got a call from Dr. Martin saying they had also found another one in Milwaukee. While these are matches, further testing still needs to be done once they are in to further match things up. Apparently blood matching is a very detailed process. :)

I figured that was the end of the news for the day (and I was feeling pretty good about things) since we were pretty much assuming that we wouldn't hear about my mom and Jen's blood until tomorrow. However, Jen got a call early this evening saying that she is also vel negative (the official name to all this craziness). This means that it is very likely I can use the blood she donated if necessary. It needs to go through some further screens like the other blood, but this seems to be good news. As my mom and sister have been saying, we are cautiously optimistic!

After hearing from Dr. Martin, we went ahead and scheduled my c-section (again!!!) for this Thursday at 10:00 a.m. Hopefully the 3rd time is a charm! I asked who would be on that day and he said he would be coming in for it (even though it wasn't his day on for surgery). I am so thankful that he has been looking out for us so much and I feel very happy that he will still be the one doing the surgery. Dr. Weeks will also be assisting him since he is the regular dr. on that day.

Sooooo, pending that everything matches up with blood tomorrow and that Baby Knuckles doesn't choose to make his arrival tonight or tomorrow, Thursday will be the big day!! Even though we may never end up using any of this blood, it is very valuable that Jen and I learned about this blood condition since we will probably both bank some of our blood in the future. Things truly happen for a reason!

Thanks for all the prayers, comments, emails, and phone calls offering to donate or do anything you can. We are very appreciative for all your support!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

And the Wait Continues...

Ahhh, today was an interesting day. It started by me going to the hospital at 7 a.m. and having 6 tubes of blood drawn so they could more accurately test and try to find a match for me. While there I ran into Dr. Weeks, who sat down at outpatient registration and made sure that they were clear on all the orders, to make sure things were expedited and to make sure that my blood was at the attention of the blood blank director.

Around 12, I got a call from my Dr. office rescheduling my c-section for tomorrow at 10:45 pending that we found a match with the blood.

Around 3:30 I got a call from Dr. Martin saying that after scouring the 2nd largest blood bank in Chicago, the best they could come up with was a single, 10-year old bag of blood. While this bag may do the trick if needed, it is older and the blood was not tested at the time for some of the things they test for today (west nile, etc.). However, it has been tested for the biggies like HIV.

Dr. Martin gave me 3 choices. 1) Go on with the c-section in the morning with the 10-year old bag of blood if we need it. 2) Have them continue to check blood banks (including the #1 one in the Chicago area. 3) Have my mom and sister donate blood with the hopes that it MAY provide a match, although there is really no guarantee. Both options 2 or 3 mean waiting another couple of days.

We have chosen to go with #2 and #3. They are continuing to check blood banks and my mom and Jen are set to go give blood tomorrow (God bless them!!). So, no Baby Knuckles for a couple more days unless he chooses to make his appearance.

That being said, if I do go into labor, we will just go ahead with the c-section. All this fuss with the blood could end up being totally unwarranted if I don't end up with any sort of complications that would require a transfusion (which I hopefully won't). However, we are trying to cover all our bases, and at the very least it is now good to know about this blood situation for future medical procedures.

There are more specific medical details as to why this is so complicated regarding proteins on blood cells, antibodies, and antigens, but I won't confuse you with the details. The bottom line is that they can't just give me O+ blood, there are other factors that need to match up. Basically it is rare enough that the blood bank director from Edwards has only seen this situation once and that was in his residency, and this is the first time Dr. Martin has dealt with this. He said I'm special. :)

Say some prayers that they find a match tomorrow or that Jen or my mom are so we can meet our Baby Boy!! We are trying to be patient, but this is a bit mentally exhausting!

We will update again when we know more....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Change of Plans....

Well, first off, I am still here. I made it to 39 weeks (plus one day!). Who would have thought. I WAS scheduled to have my c-section tomorrow. Yes, that reads WAS. Tomorrow was supposed to be the big day, but due to the blood bank having difficulty finding a match to my blood, it has been postponed until either Tuesday or Wednesday (most likely). I am not so thrilled obviously, but what can you do???

Basically when I had Mia and had to get a blood transfusion, they matched my blood type. But there can be other proteins on the blood cells which the body sometimes reacts to. My blood reacted to the donated blood by making antibodies. Of course the one my body chose to produce is very unusual and rare. So now when they try to find the blood to match mine, it is more difficult. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense, but the bottom line is, I have to wait a little longer until the blood bank can further type my blood and get a good match. If you are wondering why they have to have blood, I guess it is standard protocol with c-sections (or any other surgery I would assume) to have blood on hand if needed.

The irony is that they feel like there is a very small chance I would need to have a blood transfusion again. But they cannot have me go into elective surgery (which technically I don't need yet) without having blood on hand. Now if I go into labor on my own, I will still have a c-section and they would hopefully have the blood in time IF it were even needed (which again, is probably a longshot, and the first time I didn't even get it until a day or two after the c-section). So tomorrow I will go give 5-6 more vials of blood for them to do some further testing on and I should hopefully know by the afternoon when my c-section will be.

We are obviously disappointed (I am calmer now than I was when I got the call at 11:15-less than 24 hours before I was supposed to be at the hospital!!!!), but know this is what we need to do to take the proper precautions. We will just have to wait another couple of days to meet our little guy who will no longer have a July 14th bday! We will keep you updated when we know more....

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

4th of July '08

This was a great 4th of July. Not only were we able to celebrate with the Laskey's for Erica's birthday, but we also stopped by Sarah and Ian's after we went to her party. They had the Anderson's, Dasbach's, and Brian and Cyndi over as well. We didn't think Mia would last long since it was already almost bedtime, but she proved us wrong (or was riding a sugar-high, hard to say!), and actually stuck it out through the fireworks. I am so glad she did!! She absolutely loved them (I just wasn't sure how it was going to go), but she would just clap and say "more" every time they went off. It was a great way to end the night!
Our family
The Andersons
Sam, Pat, Steph and Aidan
Ava, Mia and Sam doing bubbles
Look at the difference a year makes!! Look how much more hair Mia has!
Still rocking the tongue though! :)
Waiting for the fireworks with her lightning bugs
In awe of some fireworks
Mia with all her "glow gear"

These were the neighbor's fireworks
All of us watching
(this was a neighbor's backyard across the street from Sarah and Ian)